We are all basking in the afterglow of the most recent Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop, courtesy of the Henry Miller Memorial Library and the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

And that can only mean one thing: testimonials!

March 2012 Big Sur in Monterey. l-r: agent Jen Rofé, film agent Brandy Rivers, agent Mary Kole, Hyperion editor Lisa Yoskowitz, Big Sur Fairy Godmother Jan Elfman, and agent Caryn Wiseman.

If you ever find yourself, in the not-too-distant future, considering signing up for this December’s workshop, but are on the fence, read this blog by Becky Allen, via Becky Allen’s Sporadic blog.  It’s honest, in-depth, and captures the essence of the workshop’s magic.

The coolest part is where she asks, “What did I get out of it?”  A great question, naturally.  And we’re tried to synthesize some of her key takeaways, which again, should resonate with any aspiring children or young adult fiction writer:

Reality-Checkin’ – “After a weekend spent letting strangers read my stuff for basically the first time ever, I feel like I’ve got a bit more of a grip on things and a more realistic sense of where I am, writing-wise.”

No YA Writer is an Island (eg, networking): “I got to meet awesome people. I am not exactly known for my excellent social skills when dealing with crowds of strangers, but it turns out talking to other writers is easy.”

Industry-Types are People Too:  “I got a solid reminder that this is an industry, and that people who write books are not some kind of magic fantasy species, and the people who work in publishing are, in fact, actual human beings. In fact, they seem to be generally nice, passionate, awesome ones.”

Looking at Your Novel from a New Perspective: “It was enough to make me look at my own novel in a whole different way. The “But why?”s and “I don’t quite get it”s were intimidating, but but also answered a whole lot of questions I never thought to ask. And it wasn’t just a matter of sorting out what’s on the page from what’s in my head: it was about figuring out why what’s on the page was there. Figuring out how to make people connect with it in new ways. Figuring out which pieces work and which don’t. And by thinking about those things in the first two chapters, I also ended up with a bunch of revelations about the novel as a whole. That, of course, is the good news.”

So there you have it.  But again, as they say in Hollywood, read the whole thing!

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